As reported on the web site of the Orthodox Church in America, an update on progress in implementing the Strategic Plan adopted by delegates to the 16th All-American Council was presented at the fall session of the Metropolitan Council here during the last week of September 2012.
In his presentation to the Metropolitan Council, Priest John Vitko likened the strategic planning goals to “seeds that are beginning to germinate.” Of the eight identified goals, four are being piloted at the local level, three at the central Church level, and one at both levels.
According to Father John
- Evangelization and Parish Development is well on the way to developing its training modules for articulating Orthodoxy to the various cultures in North America, while Growing Leadership in the Church is focusing on leadership in the deanery – e.g. peer mentoring, lay participation, mission planting—and is piloting this in the Diocese of the West.
- Management Tools, in response to feedback from dioceses and parishes, is developing simple templates to help with parish budgeting, reporting of financial information, and auditing of financial records.
- Youth and Young Adults has developed and deployed a monitored Facebook Page—http://www.facebook.com/yyaoca—to enable youth to network and share their experience of life in the Church.
- Continuing Education has received a great amount of interest, with the Holy Synod approving a pilot project to form an OCA Office of Continuing Education with an initial emphasis on legal and ethical training; Saint Vladimir’s Seminary establishing an Office of Continuing Education in response to needs identified in their alumni survey; and the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania piloting a series on monthly continuing education sessions.
- Diocesan Revitalization is being piloted in the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, which has formed an active Diocesan Revitalization Committee, which received a strong response to a diocesan talent survery and adapted a Parish Health Inventory Model to its specific needs.
- Inter-Orthodox Relations is emphasizing grass-roots efforts, has collected many examples of successful pan-Orthodox efforts at the city/metropolitan area/state and regional levels, and is using these to develop a “how to get started best practices guides” for those seeking to initiate similar efforts.
- Contemporary Moral and Social Issues has developed a template for conducting “holy conversations” around contemporary issues confronting Orthodox in the 21st century and is exploring the possibility of piloting same in the Diocese of New England and the Archdiocese of Washington DC.
Father John emphasized that, “like any new plants, these are still fragile and need nurturing to reach their potential.” He also extended thanks to the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops for establishing a pilot project to form an OCA Office of Continuing Education and to the bishops and dioceses conducting pilots of the various planning goals.
Father John’s PowerPoint presentation may be accessed here.